The 4 Cs of Diamonds
The 4 Cs, as they are known within the jewelry industry, are the standard way to measure the beauty, craftsmanship and value of a diamond.
The term “diamond cut” refers to the quality of a diamond’s proportion and Symmetry. These elements determine how much light a diamond captures and reflects, and therefore how much it sparkles. This is a direct result of the skill of the craftsman who shaped and cut the diamond.
There are four grades of diamond cut: Ideal, Very Good, Good and Poor.
If you compare two diamonds of different cuts grades, you will see that the higher cut grade has significantly more sparkle. There will also be a difference in their prices, with the better cut grade commanding a higher price. Of the 4 Cs, cut is generally recognized as the most important, since it has the greatest impact on a diamond’s appearance and quality.
The Four Diamond Cut Grades
A comparison of the four diamond cut grades.
Tremendous sparkle. Excellent polish and symmetry.
Lots of sparkle. Great polish and symmetry.
A good amount of sparkle. Sufficient polish and symmetry.
Will not sparkle very much. Unsatisfactory polish and symmetry.
*We do not carry poor cut diamonds.
Clarity refers to a diamond’s natural inclusions, or lack thereof. While small marks within a diamond are natural, their appearance can leave something to be desired if they are visible to the Naked Eye.
The shape of a diamond can affect the importance of its clarity grade. The facet patterns of the brilliant-cut diamond shapes such as round and princess can hide certain imperfections, but step-cut shapes such as emerald and Asscher have large, open tables that make inclusions more obvious.
If you want to rest assured that your diamond will display a clean and stunning brilliance, a clarity grade of SI or higher is recommended for all diamond shapes.
Why does clarity matter? The clearer a diamond, the more brilliant it is. As you go down the clarity scale, inclusions get more noticeable and disrupt the light flowing through the diamond. This means that diamonds with lots of inclusions are less brilliant and may even look a bit scratched or dirty to the casual observer.
Though it may seem counter intuitive, a diamond’s color grade actually measures how little color it reflects.
The diamond color grading scale begins with “D” and ranges down to “Z”. A diamond assigned a grade of “D” has absolutely no color — it looks pure white, even to a gemologist inspecting it carefully under 10X magnification. On the other hand, a diamond assigned a grade of “Z” looks yellow or brownish.
Carat is the measure of how much a diamond weighs. Carat is also related to size (how big a diamond looks), although it’s not the only factor that determines size.
Depending on shape, weight distribution and cut quality, two diamonds with the same carat weight can be different sizes.
It’s worth noting that some diamonds are cut solely with an emphasis on weight. These gems can sacrifice brilliance and symmetry in favor of delivering a larger carat figure.